• Chris Carnevale, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (843) 225-2371, [email protected]
• Jennette Gayer, Environment Georgia (703) 475-3228, [email protected]
• David Carr, Southern Environmental Law Center (434) 977-4090, [email protected]
• Brian O’Hara, Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition (252) 506-9463, [email protected]
• Miles Grant, National Wildlife Federation (617) 855-9486, [email protected]
New Report Shows Progress, Opportunities For Offshore Wind in Georgia
Atlanta, Ga. (July 10, 2014) – A new report out today by the National Wildlife Federation outlines the significant progress made in the American offshore wind industry in recent years, and calls for leadership to fully realize the industry’s potential.
The Atlantic coast’s offshore wind resource is enormous, and thanks to the leadership of local and state leaders and the support of the federal government, the development of offshore wind is close at hand. Projects in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are scheduled to begin construction within the next 18 months, while six other states have formally designated areas for offshore wind development. Put together, fully developing all of these wind energy areas could power millions of American homes. Georgia has not yet begun the process of identifying commercial lease areas for offshore wind, but Georgia Power is in the process of obtaining a lease for research purposes offshore Tybee Island.
“The Atlantic Ocean is a clean energy and job-producing goldmine,” said Catherine Bowes, senior manager for climate and energy at the National Wildlife Federation. “With areas offshore that can power 5 million homes currently available for leasing, it is a critical moment for state leaders to seize this golden opportunity and create a clean energy future powered by American workers that can protect our wildlife and communities from the dangers of climate change.”
The report details some of the many benefits that are offered by the development of offshore wind energy. The resource is located close to end users since population centers are numerous along the coast, which is particularly significant given the anticipated growth in both population and energy demand in years to come. Since wind energy has no fuel cost, it provides long-term price stability and studies have estimated hundreds of millions of dollars of annual future savings in states that may benefit from offshore wind farms. Savings may also be achieved by sending less money out of state for fuel imports, and because of the fact that offshore winds blow when we are using the most electricity, on hot summer afternoons.
Not only is offshore wind an ideal power source, but it is also a source of major economic growth. The offshore wind industry is creating massive investment opportunities and job growth around the globe. In Europe alone, 70 offshore wind projects support 58,000 jobs in both coastal and inland communities. Global projections estimate that $20 billion will be invested in the offshore wind industry every year for the next 10 years.
“Georgia has the perfect confluence of reasons to develop offshore wind, including a substantial resource, high demand, and a low cost of installation. Continuing to sit on the sidelines would mean missing out on considerable investments for our state,” said Jennette Gayer, executive director of Environment Georgia.
State-level leadership and private industry investment have been the key drivers of the offshore wind industry’s success thus far. The common factor in states seeing early investment in the offshore wind industry are those whose state legislatures and governors have been the most proactive.
Chris Carnevale, coastal climate and energy coordinator of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said, “Georgia Tech, Georgia Power, and various members of the Georgia Wind Working Group have done the initial work to show that offshore wind can work for Georgia, but we need real leadership from Governor Deal and the General Assembly to make the opportunity a reality. Governor Deal can start by requesting a joint offshore wind energy taskforce with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to streamline the federal regulatory process. Our elected officials in Washington D.C. have an important role to play in helping Georgians reap the benefits of offshore wind, by reducing the cumbersome tax burden on this promising industry with the renewal of the Production and Investment Tax Credits for wind energy.”
“Georgia has the opportunity to secure clean, domestic energy from its offshore wind resource,” said David Carr, general counsel of the Southern Environmental Law Center. “However, in order to capture the jobs and clean energy benefits afforded by offshore wind in the near term, state leaders will have to prioritize and implement policies that enable offshore wind development. The offshore wind play will also help the state address the growing threat of sea-level rise by reducing the reliance on dirty energy sources that contribute to climate change.”
Brian O’Hara, President of the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition said, “With the lowest costs, great wind resource, and world-class port facilities, the Southeast can play a major role in the emerging U.S. offshore wind industry. But enabling our utilities and industry to fully explore these opportunities is going to take vision and action by state leaders.”
For more information on the report, visit http://www.NWF.org/OffshoreWind
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. www.cleanenergy.org
Environment Georgia is a statewide, citizen-funded non-profit that works to protect Georgia’s air, water and green space. www.environmentgeorgia.org
The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC’s team of about 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use. www.southernenvironment.org
The Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition works to advance the coastal and offshore wind industry with solutions that are beneficial to industry, beneficial to utilities, and result in net economic benefits to citizens and ratepayers in the Southeast. www.secoastalwind.org
The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. www.nwf.org